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Why You Should Allow Your High School Student to Take a Gap Year

If you’ve got one of those high schoolers lying around, you’re realizing you have only a few more years to get them ready to leave your nest. Dig back into the corners of your memory and remember 18 year-old you. You had big plans. Right? And for many of us the plan included jumping right into college. Then you watched your freshman year roommate meander through three majors that first year. You, on the other hand, were right on track. Right?

Kids these days are embracing the notion of a gap year. It has become a right of passage in the UK for generations. A gap year is when a high school senior takes a year or so to do life before entering college. Parents can be hesitant about gap years for a number of reasons, but we’re here to debunk the myths those parents have.

Myth: “My kid will forget how to study.”
If your child is college bound, they’ve been working hard to get the grades necessary to get into your alma mater. Pushing even the best students right into college where they have to adjust to independent study habits—while burnt out—may bring them right back home as a drop out. Students who take a year off report increased energy and enthusiasm for school.

Myth: “My kid won’t get into a good school.”
Taking a gap year actually can improve the chances of getting into a good school. Many schools allow deferrals for a gap year—or semester—because students who take gap years report higher grade point averages.

Myth: “My kid will fall behind his peers.”
Remember your freshman roommate who changed majors three times? Gap year students typically explore their interests during their time in the real world and come back having discovered their true passions. Gap year students typically don’t change majors, so they end up ahead. And really, what’s the rush to get into the workforce? You know what that’s like.

Myth: “I don’t have the money.”
Gap years can be achieved on any budget. And if you plan it right, you can actually save more money for college before enrolling. Gap years can consist of anything from backpacking Europe to helping an aging grandparent. Gap years are an interest of ours because some students choose to give back to causes they care about; and we think that’s cool.

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